1 – 1 Peter 3:9 (ESV) Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
RAF: The thought is almost too simple isn’t it? Would you be blessed? Bless! Blessed people, those who live in the sense of being blessed of – and therefore happy in – God, are those who love to bless others. The route to blessedness is not to get others to pour out blessings upon you, but to bless them. Watch and see how the Lord pours back into your heart more than you give out.
But let us beware that we make this crude and bless others only to BE blessed. This is not an investment scheme, it is a way of life. God Himself cannot in any real sense be given to. There is nothing we can “bless” Him with in that sense. He is lacking nothing. Yet He is eternally blessed and happy. And a part of His happiness is in His native love to give to others. “God so loved the world, that He gave.” He desires that our blessedness be more like His. A blessing of others which is the overflow of having all things in Christ – and not a means to somehow put some effort into blessing so that we can get some blessing out of it. That is how Wall Street works, not Heaven.
Heavenly Father, give us your heart – so that we bless and are blessed in the way you are. Make us so full of the riches which are ours in Christ, the bottomless riches, that we can be like Elijah’s widow, pouring out an endless supply of oil, supernaturally welling up within. Holy Spirit, open our eyes again today to see what we really have, what has freely been given to us. Make us embarrassed with the riches, and lavishly reckless in our attempt to give them away. Oh, that others might have what we do!
2 – 1 Peter 3:13-16 (ESV) Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
RAF: Note first, that some may harm us, even when we do good. We ought not be too surprised if in this fallen world we suffer some injustice. Was not our Savior’s crucifixion the single most unjust act ever committed by human hands? Should it shock us so then if we are treated wrongly at times? This is sin’s unmasked face. It is grotesque, ugly and fearsome.
Note second that God does not count harm as we so often do. Peter echoes Jesus’ words here from Luke 12:4-7 4“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Harm in this life can be but physical and emotional, and at that, temporary. Compared to eternal spiritual harm, such is nothing. Oh to keep that balance in our hearts when tested in this way.
Note thirdly that the way to be delivered from these temporal fears, is to regard the holy Christ as Lord in our hearts. In other words, to remember He is Lord, not others nor the circumstances; that He is holy and cannot sin against us but can only act for our good; and let those considerations govern our thoughts and attitudes, rather than whose hands it is we suffer directly from.
Note fourthly then, that this response to such treatment, is so counter-intuitive to normal human responses that it will evoke wonder from those who observe it in us. This then serves as a means to redeem that suffering and make it a means whereby the Gospel is preached and Christ it put forward before men. This is the hope that is so remarkable, men cannot help but wonder where it comes from.
Note lastly – that we make our response to them not as though defiant and self-triumphant, but with gentleness and respect. Their being put to shame for treating us badly is not to be a means of revenge for us, but a means of showing God’s grace and mercy for the sake of their souls.
Now who but our wondrous God would have put forth such a pattern to follow? Oh what a glorious God we serve!